Larry Hurtado's Blog

Another feature of the „Bible Hunters” programme (part 2) that caught my attention was the reference to ancient „gnostic” Christians as „intellectuals.”  That was very funny, really.  Just read the relevant texts, which are readily available in English translation:  James M. Robinson (ed.), The Nag Hammadi Library in English, 3rd rev. ed. (Leiden/New York: Brill, 1988)

It’s perhaps a natural mistake for people who haven’t read the texts, given that „gnostic” comes from the Greek word „gnosis”, which means „knowledge.”  But in the case of those called „gnostics,” the kind of „knowledge” that they sought wasn’t „intellectual,” but (to put it kindly) what we might term „esoteric,” secretive truths expressed typically in cryptic, riddling form, deliberately intended to make little sense as expressed.  Put unkindly, one might characterize it as a bunch of „mumbo-jumbo” with no attempt to present them reasonably and in terms of the intellectual climate of…

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